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When it comes to knowing what to shred, it can sometimes be a little difficult to figure it out. While you might think it’s simple (paper, right?), the truth is that many companies struggle to decide what documents need to be shredded in order to stay compliant with legislation, and what can just be thrown away. After all, ensuring that confidential documents are securely shredded is vital to secure the business against privacy and security breaches, not to matter stay within laws like GDPR. And understanding what information to shred is a huge part of that. So, we’ve put together a list of what to shred, department by department.


HR & Payroll

HR and payroll is arguably where most of your confidential information will be found. From copies of personal documents from employees to staff appraisals, employee handbooks and other sensitive records, a lot of damage could be done is one of those documents is misplaced. Identity theft can be easily committed from improperly discarded HR documents, so you need to make sure they are handled carefully. This includes:

  • Confidential information
  • Corporate records
  • Appraisals and staff documentation
  • Payroll information
  • Tribunal documentation
  • Medical records
  • Copies of sensitive documents (e.g. passports)
  • Employee handbooks and policies


Research and Development

When you’re developing new products or services, you want to try and keep them under wraps. A misplaced document here could mean your competition bring a product to market before you, and can significantly impact your profits. So make sure you shred:

  • Technical drawings
  • Product plans
  • Feedback reports
  • Formulas and experiment testing
  • Monitoring and evaluation reports



Management handles a lot of sensitive information across the board, which means paperwork need to be handled properly. Documents like:

  • Business plans
  • Strategic reports
  • Contracts
  • Budget reports
  • Printed emails
  • Staffing information
  • Management accounts



This is where more of the technical stuff comes in, and it might not be your first thought to shred some of these documents. But while they might seem harmless, the reality is it could still represent a significant leak for your business and cause a lot of problems. It could also contain personal or sensitive information in a way you might not expect, so it always pays to be careful.

  • Training information
  • Contracts and sales memorandums
  • Sales and service information
  • Health and safety information
  • IT audits
  • Marketing information
  • Work reports
  • Monitoring information



Here is where you see less of the personal details and more of the company financial information. This is arguably more important to keep secure, as it could wreak havoc on your business and your business bank account. Procurement deals with all sorts of kinds of documents, including:

  • Purchase orders
  • Supplier records
  • Disciplinary hearings
  • Financial audits
  • Bookkeeping reports
  • Accounts logs and management accounts


Sales & Marketing

At the bottom of the pile is sales and marketing. Some of this material might not seem all that important, but it contains sensitive information about deals, customers and even financial information in places. So it’s still important to keep it all safe.

  • Contracts
  • NDAs and agreements
  • Advertising literature
  • Training information
  • Marketing collateral
  • Sales records sheets
  • Customer data


At Greenaway, we pride ourselves on making sure your business shred the right documents in a safe and secure way. That’s why we provide secure shredding bins, which can go into each of your departments and give staff somewhere to leave documents until our drivers can empty them and shred the contents. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.